Scorched Earth

I just gave a talk in Germany where a prominent editor charged me with being a doomsayer. No, I said, I’m an optimist … in the long run. In the meantime, we in media will see doom and death until we are brutally honest with ourselves about what is not working and cannot ever work again. Then we can […]

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Journalism is the conversation. The conversation is journalism.

I am sorely disappointed in The New York Times’ Farhad Manjoo, CNN’s Brian Stelter, and other journalists who these days are announcing to the world, using the powerful platforms they have, that they think journalists should “disengage” from the platform for everyone else, Twitter. No. It is the sacred duty of journalists to listen to the public […]

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We Have Met the Problem. Guess Who?

Here is chapter I contributed to the Hackademic 2018 book, Anti-Social Media?: The Impact on Journalism and Society. I’ve used various ideas in this in other posts recently. I’m leaving the British  spelling because it just might make me seem smarter.  In all the urgent debate about regulating, investigating, and even breaking up internet companies, we have lost sight of the problem we are trying to confront: not technology but instead human behaviour on it, the bad acts […]

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A Rising Moral Panic

This is just what I fear: fear itself. See that exchange above. Nick Thompson, the very impressive editor-in-chief of Wired, touted a column by one of his writers who idly wondered whether the #10YearChallenge meme could be a conspiracy created by Facebook to get us chumps to provide it with photos and data to enable […]

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The kids are alright. Grandpa’s the problem.

NYU and Princeton professors just released an important study that took a set of fake news domains identified by BuzzFeed’s Craig Silverman and others and asked who shares them on Facebook. They found that: Sharing so-called fake news appears to be rare. “The vast majority of Facebook users in our data” —more than 90 %— […]

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Hot Trump. Cool @aoc.

I’ve been rereading a lot of Marshall McLuhan lately and I’m as confounded as ever by his conception of hot vs. cool media. And so I decided to try to test my thinking by comparing the phenomena of Donald Trump and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at this millennial media wendepunkt, as text and television give way to the […]

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The Spiegel Scandal and the Seduction of Storytelling

“Everyone who writes knows the seduction of the narrative.” — Bernhard Pörksen in Die Zeit The German journalism world is grappling with the implications of a shocking scandal at Der Spiegel: An award-winning, 33-year-old reporter — no, a fabulist and a fraud — named Claas Relotius made up article after article with stunning and audacious contempt for truth, as this fact-checking of his […]

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Facebook. Sigh.

I’d rather like to inveigh against Facebook right now as it would be convenient, given that ever since I raised money for my school from the company, it keeps sinking deeper in a tub of hot, boiling bile in every media story and political pronouncement about its screwups. Last week’s New York Times story about Facebook sharing data with other […]

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Congratulations, America. Victory against Infowars!

YouTube just terminated Alex Jones’ channel which had 2.4 million subscribers & Facebook has removed four of his pages. Spotify finally completely kicked him to the curb. Never doubt that your voice makes difference. Bravo @Facebook, @YouTube, @Spotify. 🙌 https://t.co/TcY6jN7vXu — Shannon Coulter (@shannoncoulter) August 6, 2018   You did it, O, you denizens of […]

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